Computer Structure Code:  22.630    :  6
View general information   Description   The subject within the syllabus as a whole   Prior knowledge   Information prior to enrolment   Learning objectives and results   Content   View the UOC learning resources used in the subject   Additional information on support tools and learning resources   Guidelines on assessment at the UOC   View the assessment model  
This is the course plan for the second semester of the academic year 2023/2024. To check whether the course is being run this semester, go to the Virtual Campus section More UOC / The University / Programmes of study section on Campus. Once teaching starts, you'll be able to find it in the classroom. The course plan may be subject to change.
The objective of Computer Structure is to extend the vision of the basics of computer architecture and organization in order to describe the low-level language (assembly language). The computer programming will be performed in assembly language with calls to I/O functions in C. The student will learn to develop subroutines in assembly language and to add calls to these functions in higher-level languages using their own structures in C language.


This subject has a strong relation with the optional subject of Fundamentals of Computers. 

Computer Structure expands the knowledge on the hardware components that a programmer needs to know to successfully perform her tasks, such as, information processing in a computer.


The established prerequisite to study Computer Structure is the optional subject Fundamentals of Computers.

Computer Structure extends the concepts that have been seen in Fundamentals of Computers. Therefore, we assume that the student has acquired the basic knowledge such as: data representation and numbering systems; the different types of digital circuits; the basic structure of a computer; computer algorithms and programming fundamentals.


The course needs the background knowledge of the optional subject Fundamentals of Computers and Operting Systems. Additionally, subjects related to programming. 

The required working environment needs a Personal Computer based on processors x86-64 (Intel 64 or AMD 64) and the Operating System to be executed is Linux of 64 bits. The proposed version of the OS is Linux Mint of 64 bits (based on Ubuntu), but it is available to use others versions of Linux of 64 bits.

The programming languages are: C and assembler x86-64.


Specific Bachelor Computer Engineering 

 [13] Competence to identify the computer elements and the functional principles of a computer. 
 [14] Competence to analyse the computer architecture and organization systems and network applications. 
 [15] Identify emerging communication technologies and their application to design and develop solutions based on information systems and information technologies.

Subject competences 

- Ability to analyse and synthesize.
- Problem solving. 
- Ability to plan and organize.
- Good written communication skill. 
- Critical reasoning. 

 Any professional career related to this subject will need, at the same time, the knowledge related to hardware. Therefore, the main goal is to learn necessary concepts to understand what a computer is and to be able to develop any professional activity using it.


The learning units are the following: 

Unit 1: The computer 

Section 1. The computer 
Section 2. The Von Neumann Architecture
Section 3. The Harvard Architecture 
Section 4. The evolution of computers 

Unit 2: Instructions set 

Section 1. Instructions set 
Section 2. Addressing modes

Unit 3: The processor
Section 1. Organisation of the processor 
Section 2. Instruction execution cycle 
Section 3. Registers 
Section 4. Arithmetic logic unit
Section 5. Control Unit
Section 6. CISC and RISC computers 

Unit 4: Memory System

Section 1. Memory features
Section 2. Memory Hierarchy 
Section 3. Cache Memory 
Section 4. Internal memory 
Section 5. External memory 

Unit 5: I/O System 

Section 1. Basic aspects of the I/O 
Section 2. Programmed I/O 
Section 3. I/O with interruptions by interrupts 
Section 4. I/O with direct memory access 
Section 5. Comparison of I/O techniques 

Unit 6: Assembly programming (x86-64) 

Section 1. Computer architecture
Section 2. Programming languages 
Section 3. The assembly language for x86-64 architecture 
Section 4. Introduction to the C language 
Section 5. Programming concepts in assembly language and C 

Unit 7: CISCA Architecture

Section 1. Computer organisation 
Section 2. Instruction Set 
Section 3. Format and encoding instructions 
Section 4. Execution of instructions


Logic and Boolean algebra PDF
Information representation PDF


The student will be able to access to the material available in electronic format. Additionally, the student will find examples of final practical projects (Pr) and continuous assessment activities (CAA) of previous courses, as well as, other support tools in the virtual classroom.

Besides, this course will use the following support tools: 

1. The necessary software for the final project: Virtual machine (VM) with the operating system Linux Mint (based on Ubuntu) of 64 bits with the necessary tools to perform the practical work. This virtual machine can be executed on top of any operating system already installed in the students¿ computer (Windows, Linux and Mac OS).

 2. The required tools will be: 

- Text editor (geany) 
- Assembler (yasm) 
- Linker (ld) 
- C compiler (gcc) 
- Debugger (kdbg)


The assessment process is based on students' own work and the assumption that this work is original and has been carried out by them.

In assessment activities, the following irregular behaviours, among others, may have serious academic and disciplinary consequences: someone else being involved in carrying out the student's assessment test or activity, or the work being not entirely original; copying another's work or committing plagiarism; attempting to cheat to obtain better academic results; collaborating in, covering up or encouraging copying; or using unauthorized material, software or devices during assessment.

If students are caught engaging in any of these irregular behaviours, they may receive a fail mark (D/0) for the assessable activities set out in the course plan (including the final tests) or in the final mark for the course. This could be because they have used unauthorized materials, software or devices (e.g. social networking sites or internet search engines) during the tests, because they have copied text fragments from an external source (internet, notes, books, articles, other student's projects or activities, etc.) without correctly citing the source, or because they have engaged in any other irregular conduct.

In accordance with the UOC's academic regulations , irregular conduct during assessment, besides leading to a failing mark for the course, may be grounds for disciplinary proceedings and, where appropriate, the corresponding punishment, as established in the UOC's coexistence regulations.

In its assessment process, the UOC reserves the right to:

  • Ask the student to provide proof of their identity, as established in the university's academic regulations.
  • Request that students provide evidence of the authorship of their work, throughout the assessment process, both in continuous and final assessment, by means of an oral test or by whatever other synchronous or asynchronous means the UOC specifies. These means will check students' knowledge and competencies to verify authorship of their work, and under no circumstances will they constitute a second assessment. If it is not possible to guarantee the student's authorship, they will receive a D grade in the case of continuous assessment or a Fail in the case of final assessment.

    For this purpose, the UOC may require that students use a microphone, webcam or other devices during the assessment process, in which case it will be the student's responsibility to check that such devices are working correctly.


You can only pass the course if you participate in and pass the continuous assessment. Your final mark for the course will be the mark you received in the continuous assessment.